Gripple is celebrating another milestone – producing its one billionth fastener.
A celebration event was held at Riverside, Sheffield, one of Gripple’s six manufacturing facilities in South Yorkshire to mark the milestone, which included current staff and retired employees who had been involved with the manufacture of the first generation of Gripple fasteners.
With 85% of Gripple’s fasteners going to export markets, its products have been used in a wide range of agricultural and construction applications, since production started at the original factory in Sheffield 35 years ago. This now includes such varied applications as viticulture, fruit growing, agricultural wire fencing, garden trellising, green housing, utility scale solar, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting and acoustic applications, to name but a few.
Kevin St Clair, UK Managing Director for Gripple, says, “Our one billionth Gripple fastener is a truly remarkable achievement. Our fasteners are used in such a diverse range of applications and it is testament to their high-quality design and our reliable quality production that they are renowned throughout the world – many of the original Gripple fasteners are still in use today.”
Kevin adds, “When I joined Gripple in 2002, we were based on just one site and manufactured around 15 wire joiner variants at a rate of 20,000,000 per year. Here we are 20 years later with six sites, and in 2022 we manufactured 70,000,000 units across 100 variants. I am very excited about what the next 20 years will mean for Gripple as we are constantly innovating to solve fastening and tensioning issues for people in different industries across the world.”
Over the past 35 years, production at Gripple has advanced dramatically from hand assembly in the early days producing 800 per shift to becoming semi-automated to make 3,000 per shift to many variants now being fully automated and manufacturing 25,000 per shift. Gripple’s own automation division is currently developing an 80 fasteners-per-minute machine, which will further speed up production and the checking process.
From originally carrying out manual checks within the business, Gripple has advanced to 100% automatic visual checks carried out by state-of-the-art camera technology, ensuring the very highest quality standards.